Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Title and Introduction Pages

To whom was the Book of Mormon written?
  • First to the Lamanites, then the Jews and finally the Gentiles.
  • Lamanite: in this context, it means those descendents of Lehi who fell away from the gospel. As can be read from the Book of Mormon, Lamanite can mean anyone who is a descendent of Laman or Lemual or anyone who apostatizes from the Gospel or even the Nephite nation (2 Nephi 5:14, Jacob 1:14, Alma 43:4, 13). Toward the end of the Book of Mormon, it becomes evident that the Nephites and Lamanites become one people. Only after Christ had visited them and later, when people began to apostatize, did a group of people take up the name of Lamanite as a symbol of their rebellion against God (4 Nephi 1:35-38).
  • Jew: in a generic sense, this term applies to not only the tribe of Judah, but all descendents of Israel. 2 Nephi 33:8 alludes to this application of the term.

  • Gentile: Daniel Ludlow seems to explain the "generic ness" of the term Gentile in the January 1991 Ensign ("Of the House of Israel" p. 51). He states, "The basic meaning of the word Gentile is “foreign,” “other,” or “non.” Thus, to a Hebrew, a Gentile is a non-Hebrew; to an Israelite, a Gentile is a non-Israelite; and to a Jew, a Gentile is a non-Jew. In this sense, some Latter-day Saints have referred to those who are not members of the Church as Gentiles, even though the nonmembers might be Jews! The word Gentile might also be used in several different ways to refer to family, religious, political, or even geographical relationships. For example, a person might be considered an Israelite in a family or blood sense, but might be called a Gentile in a political or geographical sense because he lives in a land or nation that is primarily Gentile, or non-Israelitish." So when Moroni wrote this title page, he was probably referring to European migrants who "discovered" and later inhabited the New World (see 1 Nephi 13, 2 Nephi 10, 3 Nephi 16:4,6-10,12-13, Mormon 5:9-10).

  • Why was the Book of Mormon written?

  • To show to the remnant of the House of Israel the great things the Lord has done to their fathers.

  • That they may know the covenants of the Lord that they are not cast off forever.

  • To convince the Jews and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ.

  • Regarding the statement, "written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed," in Enos 1:14, Enos informs us that the Lamanites would destroy all the Nephites records if they had the chance. Thus Enos earnestly prayed that the records might be preserved.

    Joseph Smith was rightly admonished by Moroni to protect the plates. "the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: That I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.

    “I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them
    safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was
    required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I
    had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every
    stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The
    persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on
    the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God,
    they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was
    required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for
    them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day,
    being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight”
    (Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon).

    Indications of the Lord’s hand in bringing forth the Book of Mormon: The Book of Mormon came forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof. Moroni was well aware of the Lord's means for interpretation. Ammon (not the missionary) informed King Limhi that King Mosiah II possessed interpreters with which he could interpret the writings of the Jaradites (Mosiah 8:13, 15-17). We do not know the origins of the interpreters King Mosiah possessed, but we do know that Joseph Smith used the "Urim and Thummim which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount" (D&C 17:1). He also used a seer stone (see "A Peaceful Heart" Friend, September 1974, 7 and Russell M. Nelson "A Treasured Testament", Ensign, July 1993, 61).

    A warning to those who criticize the teachings of God in The Book of Mormon: "condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."

    "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."

    "most correct book" I found the following quote from Gospel Doctrine.com : In Book of Mormon Symposium Series, George A. Horton, Jr. explains, "When Joseph Smith said ‘the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth,’ it seems evident that he was not talking about grammar, punctuation, or spelling. He was referring to the clarity and depth of doctrine, to the mission and message of the book, to the spirit of inspiration that it fosters, to the divine desire that it sparks in the soul to make the ‘mighty change,’ and to the abiding love of the Lord that it brings into our hearts."

    "the keystone of our religion … " without the "key" or important, stone, an arch would not exist.

    "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" Indeed, if one follows the counsels of Nephi, Benjamin, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Mormon, Moroni and even Christ, one will "get nearer to God." Herein lies the true testimony of the Book of Mormon … does it change lives? If it does, then the book is good.

    The Book of Mormon promise is outlined in Moroni 10:35. If applied correctly, anyone will gain a testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. And when a person comes to know that the Book of Mormon is true, he will also know that:

  • Joseph Smith is a prophet of God or that God inspires men and calls them to his holy work in this generation as well as in generations of old.

  • God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on the Earth, set up preparatory to the Second Coming of Christ.

  • The Holy Scriptures are true.

  • The Book of Mormon was written to us that live on the Earth today. The authors of the Book of Mormon knew exactly what to write because they saw our day. Mormon knew of our doings and works (Mormon 8:25-35).

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